It’s Good News Week

A recent report by the NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisation) indicated that 41% of charities expected to increase their level of fundraising in the next few month. The key question is whether this activity is expected to increase income, or merely an attempt to maintain market share in a diminishing fundraising pool.

As pressure on our fundraising teams increase, and we look to be more and more sophisticated in our attempts to win new donors; it’s easy to overlook what works well – no matter what the channel -the power of good news.

I was reminded of this fact when one of my earliest charity projects the RSPB’s Save the Albatross campaign was back in the news last week. When we conceived the site back in back in 2006, we had very little concept of how to build an online campaign, and we saw the site as a central base to support PR activity and interest generated through the Volvo Ocean Race.

The site was launched on the back of a PR campaign that stressed how dire the situation was, and how close the albatross was to extinction. This caused a flurry of initial activity, but as we hadn’t recommended a great emphasis on data collection, momentum soon dwindled.  Newsweek

However, last week stories of the campaign’s success hit the news wires and generated a flurry of interest. Having not even thought about the charity for a couple of years, the news brought the campaign flooding back and I instantly reconnected with its aims and themes.

In our constant quest to find new ways to connect with our audience, we often spend too much time focussing on how we’re going to reach the audience, rather than what we are going to tell them. As Julie Andrews so memorably sang “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine goes down,” and some targeted good news can certainly bring new life to an existing database.

As donors become more careful with their available income, it’s the charities that offer the most value that will do best. One of the key elements of this is going to communicate your successes in a meaningful way – small steps forward make progress real and show that money isn’t just disappearing into a black hole.


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